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CGMB Associate Phil Nash Addresses Outdated NY Criminal Mischief Laws

Nash Nassau Lawyer Article Discusses Need to Update NY’s Criminal Mischief Statute

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Philip Nash, an associate attorney at Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry who concentrates his practice in criminal defense and plays a key role in the firm’s growing criminal record sealing practice area, has authored an article addressing New York’s outdated criminal mischief law – and the need for updates to these sections of Penal Law to keep up with current times and the rate of inflation. The article appears in the current issue of Nassau Lawyer, the journal of the Nassau County Bar Association, and provides an important overview of the issues surrounding the current Criminal Mischief law – which is still adhering to dollar amount thresholds for crimes committed set in 1965 and not taking into account both inflation and today’s portable, expensive technology (e.g., iPhones), and often not accurately distinguishing between misdemeanor and felony level crimes.
The article opens with an example of a scenario that could happen at just about any place in New York — surrounding a fight that led to damage to an iPhone, and the resulting felony charge (punishable by up to one and one third to four years in prison) received for property damage of more than $250 – a Penal Law, and dollar amount, set far before iPhone and similar portable technology were available and part of everyday life. With felony charges and convictions having such serious consequences (and noting that felonies “should rightly be reserved for the most serious offenses committed in our society”) the article points to the need to bring a change in the dollar and update the Criminal Mischief statute appropriately for today’s very different times.

Nash notes that in February 2017 the New York State Senate passed a bill that would increase the threshold for Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree from $250 to $1000 and Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree from $1,500 to $3,000, with the bill still pending in the State Assembly, where no action has been taken. He then calls for Representatives in the Assembly to “take up and pass this bill to update the Criminal Mischief statute, so it keeps pace with inflation and more accurately reflects the legislative intent to distinguish between misdemeanor and felony level crimes.
To read Phil Nash’s article about this important and timely topic surrounding New York’s outdated Criminal Mischief law and the need for change, click here.  In addition, for any questions surrounding criminal mischief charges, or if you or someone you know is in need of legal counsel surrounding any area of criminal law, call us 24/7 at 516-294-0300.

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